Ringgit falls below 3.06 to Singapore dollar on slumping oil prices, China concerns

The ringgit fell below the 3.06 level to one Singapore dollar, for the first time, on Tuesday (Sept 8) morning, hit by slumping oil prices and fears of a hard landing for China's economy.
The ringgit fell below the 3.06 level to one Singapore dollar, for the first time, on Tuesday (Sept 8) morning, hit by slumping oil prices and fears of a hard landing for China's economy.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The ringgit fell below the 3.06 level to one Singapore dollar for the first time on Tuesday (Sept 8) morning, hit by slumping oil prices and fears of a hard landing for China's economy.

The Malaysian currency hit 3.0601 to the Singdollar at 8.41am, paring its loss to trade at 3.0413 as at 10.13am. It closed at 3.0328 on Monday.

The ringgit also fell for the fifth day against the US dollar, the longest run of losses in a month.

Brent crude slumped 4 per cent on Monday, extending a decline that has contributed to a 20 per cent depreciation in the ringgit this year in Asia's worst performance.

China, Malaysia's biggest overseas market, will later on Tuesday report that exports contracted for a second month in August, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

"There are uncertainties over China's growth, declining oil prices, US Fed rate normalisation, global risk aversion," said Leong Sook Mei, South-east Asia head of global markets research at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in Singapore. "It's a given that, in this kind of environment, Asian currencies will probably be very weak."

The ringgit declined 0.9 per cent to 4.3672 per US dollar as of 9.31 am in Kuala Lumpur, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. The currency, which has lost 4.6 per cent in the past five days, earlier fell to 4.3730, the lowest since January 1998.

A majority of more than 150 market participants surveyed by Moody's Investors Service expect the ringgit and oil prices to stabilise, with 44 per cent saying they expect the currency to trade between 4 and 4.50 to a US dollar, according to a statement from the rating company issued on Tuesday.

Global funds reduced holdings of Malaysian government bonds by 4.3 per cent to RM166.1 billion (S$54.6 billion) in August from July, the lowest level in five months, according to central bank data.

Sovereign bonds retreated, with the 10-year yield rising four basis points to 4.28 per cent, according to prices from Bursa Malaysia.